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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The San Antonio Spurs finally have their starting five healthy and playing together, and now maybe they can go on a home winning streak. The Spurs will try to win back-to-back games at home and three in a row overall when they host the Miami Heat on Monday.
San Antonio went 40-1 at home last season but dropped three in a row before bouncing back with a 96-86 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday, and finally put Danny Green and Tony Parker together in the backcourt along with Kawhi Leonard, Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge on Saturday in a 106-100 triumph at Houston.
“We definitely played better today than we did a few days ago,” Gasol told ESPN.com after beating the Rockets. “We’re making progress, and that’s what it’s about. We’ve been playing much better on the road than we have at home. Hopefully we can come out with the same intensity and aggressiveness and continue to make progress.”
The Heat were hoping to have their entire starting five as well after point guard Goran Dragic sat out Saturday’s 102-91 home loss to Utah with a sprained ankle, but he has been ruled out for this one. The setback was the fourth straight for Miami, which is averaging 89.5 points during the slide.
Miami (2-6) missed its first 10 shots of the third quarter on Saturday and scored 12 points in the frame as the game got out of hand.
“We’re not feeling great about the result right now, but we had been building each game and you felt that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “Each game we had been building better habits, getting closer, making a step or two forward, and this is a half-step back.”
Spoelstra pulled shooting guard Dion Waiters during that rough stretch of the third and he finished the game 1-of-4 from the floor to drop to 10-of-36 over the last four games.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich has lamented his team’s inability to put together four straight quarters of tough defense, and the Spurs (7-3) allowed 60 points in the second half on Saturday after surrendering 40 in the first.
“You just keep working. Everybody keeps working,” Popovich told reporters. “It doesn’t matter if you won or lost. There’s many, many things teams need to improve. But we competed well … really well. We played a lot of guys, and they’re starting to figure each other out. That’s what we need.”
Aldridge is doing his part defensively and recorded three blocks on Saturday while posting his second straight double-double.
1. Heat SG Rodney McGruder got an extended look on Saturday with Waiters struggling and went 5-of-6 from the floor in 22 minutes.
2. Spurs SG Manu Ginobili is 9-of-11 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, in the last two games.
3. San Antonio took the last eight in the series, going back to the last two games of the 2014 NBA Finals.
PREDICTION: Spurs 102, Heat 88
By SportsDirect Inc.